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VOL. 1 ISSUE 5 â–¶ Sept. 25-Oct. 9 2018

2018

PENS PREVIEW HOW SID AND THE GANG PLAN TO BRING THE CUP BACK HOME

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PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 3


CONTENTS Vol. I Iss. V Sept. 2018 Publisher/Editor: Charlie Deitch Charlie@pittsburghcurrent.com

NEWS The Hockey Issue ▶ 2018 Penguins Preview. . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 ▶ Matt Murray: The Breakdown. . . . . . 10

Associate Publisher: Bethany Ruhe Bethany@pittsburghcurrent.com

EDITORIAL

OPINION

▶ Red Beans and Rice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 ▶ Microwaves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 ▶ Music Briefs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

FOOD ▶ This Tastes Funny . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 ▶ Foodstagram. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

▶ Aryanna Berringer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

▶ Siempre Algo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

pittsburghcurrent.com

▶ Rob Rogers’ cartoon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

▶ Day Drinking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Special Projects Editor: Rebecca Addison, Rebecca@

▶ Weed column . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Music Editor: Margaret Welsh, Margaret@

pittsburghcurrent.com Visuals Editor: Jake Mysliwczyk Staff Writer, Arts: Amanda Reed, Amanda@ pittsburghcurrent.com Staff Writer, News and Food: Haley Frederick, Haley@

ARTS ▶ Madama Butterfly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

NEIGHBORHOODS ▶ Bellevue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 ▶ Bellevue Q&A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

pittsburghcurrent.com

▶ Destination Moon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Columnists: Aryanna Berringer, Sue Kerr, Mike

▶ Bodiography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Wysocki, opinions@pittsburghcurrent.com

▶ Lobby Hero . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

▶ News of the Weird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

▶ History vs. Women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

▶ Savage Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

Contributing Writers: Jody DiPerna, Mike Shanley, Corey Carrington, Ted Hoover, Mike Watt, Ian Thomas,

▶ Classified. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

Brian Metzer, info@pittsburghcurrent.com Listings Clerk: Brooklyn Magill, listings@ pittsburghcurrent.com

MUSIC

Lead Designer: Mary Beth Eastman, info@

▶ Blues and Heritage Fest . . . . . . . . . . 22

pittsburghcurrent.com

▶ Descendents of Crom Fest . . . . . . . . 27

Cover & Logo Design: Mark Adisson

EXTRA

▶ Crossword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

PHOTO CREDIT Front Page photo by Jake Msliwczyk.

ADVERTISING Vice President of Sales: Paul Klatzkin, Paul@ pittsburghcurrent.com Senior Account Executives: Andrea James, Andrea@pittsburghcurrent.com Jeremy Witherell, Jeremy@pittsburghcurrent.com Account Executive: Mackenna Donahue, Mackenna@pittsburghcurrent.com

ADMINISTRATION Operations Director: Thria Devlin, Thria@ pittsburghcurrent.com Office Manager: Bonnie McConnell, Bonnie@ pittsburghcurrent.com

THE FINE PRINT The contents of the Pittsburgh Current are © 2018 by Pittsburgh Current, LLC. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this publication shall be duplicated or reprinted without the express-written consent of Pittsburgh Current LLC. The Pittsburgh Current is published twice monthly beginning August 2018. The opinions contained in columns and letters to the editors represent the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Pittsburgh Current ownership, management and staff. The Pittsburgh Current is an independently owned and operated print and online media company produced in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Beechview neighborhood, 1665 Broadway Ave., Pittsburgh, PA., 15216. 412-204-7248.

Distribution Manager: Kyle Sims-Ruhe, Kyle@ pittsburghcurrent.com 4 | SEPT. 25, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENT

Email us or don’t: info@pittsburghcurrent.com.


SUBOXONE / VIVITROL

       

PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 5


MARCH T H E

ER V O C RY STO

H O C K E Y

I S S U E

OF THE

PENGUINS AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE PLAYERS WHO PLAN ON BRINGING THE STANLEY CUP BACK TO PITTSBURGH IN 2018 By Brian Metzer PITTSBURGH CURRENT HOCKEY WRITER brian@pittsburghcurrent.com Current photos by Jake Mysliwczyk

IF YOU ARE

a newer Penguins fan, you got some bad news in June. Sidney Crosby’s Penguins don’t win the Stanley Cup every season. It might have seemed that way based on the fact that they sat on the throne for 726 days – an unprecedented number in the salary cap era – but the Washington Capitals wrestled the title away. Their Metropolitan Division rivals finally got over the second round hump and the Penguins before rolling past the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights to win their first Stanley Cup. The loss left a foul taste in the collective mouths of all involved, especially after making a big splash at the 6 | SEPT. 25, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENT

trade deadline to acquire center Derick Brassard. Brassard never looked comfortable in Pittsburgh, played through injury during the playoffs and saw his ice time limited. While some around the league wondered if the Penguins championship window had closed, General Manager Jim Rutherford got to work on crafting the next incarnation of the team almost immediately. Many of the faces stayed the same, but some new ones are sprinkled throughout. One of Crosby’s old high school buddies has come to town and the team brought back a key piece of their back-to-back championship teams that was sorely missed on and off the ice last season. Want to know who was brought in? Who they brought back? How those players will be deployed? Then read on, because we’ll be taking a look at all aspects of the roster – the forwards, defensemen and goalies.


T H E

FORWARDS The Penguins are flush with NHL caliber forwards and that starts down the middle, where they have no less than six players capable of manning the center position. That group is headlined by Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and is fleshed out with Brassard, Riley Sheahan, Derek Grant and the returning Matt Cullen. Crosby and Malkin are still two of the best players on the planet and they will man their usual spots on the top two lines, but the rest of the group is pretty hazy. There have been public and private discussions about using Brassard on the left wing – a position of need for the team – but he has spent his career playing center. He slotted in as the team’s third line pivot last season after arriving in town, but he’s not known for his defensive skill or faceoff prowess. Playing on the third line didn’t allow his offense to flourish and that made the Penguins fairly one-dimensional and top heavy. He is open to moving to the wing and could see time with Malkin and Phil Kessel. Can that work? Possibly, but no one knows as of this writing because he missed the opening of training camp with a lung infection and only returned to practice on Sep. 19. Sheahan also missed the start of training camp with a lower-body injury. He’s been skating on his own and the team is hopeful that he’ll be ready for opening night. The 26-yearold looked revitalized upon arriving in Pittsburgh following a trade from Detroit, scoring 11 goals, 21 assists and 32 points in 73 games, but his role changed with the arrival of Brassard. Sheahan was often used as a wing on the third line, but might be best suited for fourth line duty this season, which made the acquisitions of Cullen and Grant more surprising. The Penguins have won with Cullen and missed his chameleon-esque ability to play up and down their lineup. Grant, who scored a career-high 12 goals and 24 points last season for the

H O C K E Y

Anaheim Ducks, would be a perfect candidate for the Penguins fourth line if there weren’t already two suitors for the position. That had most assuming that he was a depth signing, but Rutherford insists he was acquired to play in Pittsburgh. If that is the case at least two of the centers will be moving to the wing, which makes it harder to pencil prospects Daniel Sprong and Zach Aston-Reese onto the roster. Both were thought to be locks at the end of last season, but if neither wins a job in the top six it is safe to say that they could be listed as extras or sitting in Wilkes-Barre Scranton waiting for an injury. The issue is further complicated by the presence of Dominik Simon. He might not have the dazzling shot and offensive instincts of Sprong or the size and net front presence of Aston-Reese, but the coaching staff believes that he does everything else well. Jake Guentzel has a job on the top line, Carl Hagelin will play regularly and Bryan Rust is a Swiss Army knife that can play anywhere in the lineup. Rutherford also signed Jimmy Hayes, who once scored 19 goals for the Florida Panthers. It is worth noting that Sprong skated with Guentzel/Crosby and Aston-Reese with Malkin/Kessel during the early stages of training camp, but there are no guarantees that those combos will stick. Head coach Mike Sullivan has plenty of options, but here’s one look at how the roster could shake out. (Rust and Hagelin could also be flipped in this scenario, as both bring many of the same traits.) ■ Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Daniel Sprong ■ Carl Hagelin – Evgeni Malkin – Phil Kessel ■ Bryan Rust – Derick Brassard – Patric Hornqvist ■ Riley Sheahan – Derek Grant – Matt Cullen

I S S U E

3

3 REASONS

WHY THE PENGUINS

WILL WIN AGAIN

1

THE TWO-HEADED MONSTER The Penguins will be Stanley Cup contenders for as long as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin (pictured above) are on the roster. Both are former league and playoff MVPs and as long as they are healthy, this team is capable of beating anyone.

2

MATT MURRAY’S BOUNCE BACK Pundits around the league thought Murray would contend for a Vezina Trophy last season. It didn’t happen for several reasons including the death of his father. He’s better prepared mentally and physically to make that a reality this season. He’ll be among the league leaders in wins, GAA and Save Percentage.

3

A LITTLE R & R It stinks going home early, but after playing 307 games over the past three seasons, the Penguins needed some rest. Most players will say that their bodies can handle the grind, but it takes a mental toll. The rest did them well and these players are ready to make another run.

CONTINUED PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 7


T H E

H O C K E Y

I S S U E

WE’RE CALLING IT

CONTINUED FROM 7

Atlantic Division Winner – Tampa Bay Lightning

■ EXTRA – Zach Aston-Reese, Dominik Simon, Jimmy Hayes

Metropolitan Division Winner – Washington Capitals Central Division Winner – Winnipeg Jets Pacific Division Winner – San Jose Sharks Eastern Conference Winner – Tampa Bay Lightning Western Conference Winner – Winnipeg Jets Stanley Cup Champion – Tampa Bay Lightning Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP) – Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning Jack Adams Award (Top Coach) – Paul Maurice, Winnipeg Jets Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) – Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Outstanding Sportsmanship) – William Karlsson, Vegas Golden Knights Richard Trophy (Top Goal Scorer) – Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning Art Ross Trophy (Top Overall Scorer) – Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins Frank Selke Trophy (Top Defensive Forward) – Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings Norris Trophy (Top Defenseman) – Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning Vezina Trophy (Top Goaltender) – Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets Hart Memorial Trophy (League MVP) – Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins 8 | SEPT. 25, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENT

HY O P AST R T C FO

RE

DEFENSEMEN Though the Penguins seemed to lack scoring in the playoffs, their true Achilles’ heel was the blue line. Former Norris Trophy Finalist Kris Letang wasn’t able to consistently play at his usual level after coming off of season-ending neck surgery the previous year and Rutherford opted to include pending free agent and two-time Stanley Cup winner Ian Cole in the Brassard trade. Sullivan tried some new-look defensive pairings and the group’s propensity to pinch up to force offensive plays – something that was part of the system they won two Stanley Cups playing – created too many odd-man breaks that turned into goals against. Opposing forwards picked off passes or chipped pucks past those defenders catching them flatfooted in the neutral zone. That forced the team’s goaltenders to face a ton of grade-A scoring opportunities, including the overtime breakaway Capitals’ forward Evgeny Kuznetsov scored on to send the Penguins home in the second round of the playoffs. Rutherford didn’t like what he saw, but his blue line solution – signing defenseman Jack Johnson to a five-year, $16.25 million dollar contract – left fans ready to picket outside of PPG Paints Arena. Johnson’s dropping offensive production, his advanced analytics and possession numbers in Columbus, combined with being a healthy scratch in the playoffs created much consternation. The stats might not look great, but Johnson, who played high school hockey with Crosby at Shattuck St Mary’s School in Minnesota, could be a nice fit with the Penguins. The 6-foot1, 227-pounder is a leader and served


as an assistant captain throughout his tenure with the Blue Jackets. He’s physical and isn’t shy about jumping into the play. In 77 games last season he recorded 101 hits and 135 blocked shots. Johnson was also a staple on the Blue Jackets’ penalty kill logging 2:06 minutes per game. Since debuting with the Los Angeles Kings during the 2007 season, Johnson has played in 788 games, recording 278 points (66G-212A). The hope here is that he’ll add to those offensive totals. He has spent the early days of camp being deployed as part of a five-man unit with Justin Schultz, Crosby, Guentzel and Sprong during intrasquad scrimmages. His ability to make a strong breakout pass that catches forwards with speed in the neutral zone was a key reason for his acquisition. The Penguins also return Letang, Brian Dumoulin, Olli Maatta, Jamie Oleksiak and Chad Ruhwedel. Dumoulin is coming off of a breakout season that saw him record career highs in goals (5), points (18) and time on ice (20:37). He has quietly become one of the best defenders in the game and will continue in his spot alongside Letang on the team’s top pairing. Maatta, selected in the first round in 2012, also set career marks in goals (7), assists (22) and shots on goal (164) and tied his career high in points (29). He’s grown into a more consistent player with each passing season and more importantly stayed healthy, playing in all 82 games last season. Oleksiak is a work in progress, but his size is a huge asset. He stands 6-foot-7, 250-pounds, uses his reach to break up plays and has a booming shot. Schultz dipped statistically from career highs two seasons ago, but was still a vital piece when he was healthy. He appeared in 63 games. Ruhwedel’s puck skills have been very valuable over the past several seasons as the team’s seventh defenseman, but keep an eye on Finnish import Juuso Riikolo and American Hockey League sniper Stefan Elliott.

Each has turned heads during training camp and could make an impact this season. Here’s how the blue line could shake out: ■ Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang ■ Olli Maatta – Jack Johnson ■ Jamie Oleksiak– Justin Schultz ■ Extra: Chad Ruhwedel, Juuso Riikola, Stefan Elliott

XXXX

WORLD PREMIERE

GOALIES Matt Murray is the unquestioned starter but he’s coming off a year that saw his goals against average (2.92) go up and his save percentage (.907) go down. He still managed to post 27 wins, but he didn’t look like himself for most of the year. That can be attributed to losing his father in January as well as being diagnosed with a concussion. He managed to get through the injury and the personal tragedy, but his game never got back to its usual level. Questions about his glove hand remain as well. He used the offseason to work on all aspects of the position and feels like he’ll be better than ever. (See graphic, page 10). There is an ongoing battle for the back-up job. Both Casey DeSmith and Tristan Jarry served in that capacity at times last season. Jarry cut his body fat over the summer and arrived at camp in the best shape of his career. He hopes to build upon a season that saw him go 14-6-2, with a 2.77 GAA, .908 save percentage with two shutouts. He showed off his skills against the Detroit Red Wings during his preseason debut stopping 41 of 44 shots, including 18 of 19 in the second period. DeSmith also shined during his preseason debut against the Buffalo Sabres, making 26 saves on 29 shots, and he looks even better than he did last season when he went 6-4-1, with a 2.40 GAA, .921 save percentage and one shutout. This is one question that might not have an answer until the final cuts of camp. ■

This is the one that lifts us higher

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T H E

H O C K E Y

I S S U E

MURRAY ON

MURRAY

PENGUINS 2018

BOLD

GO ALI

GR

ILL

PREDICTIONS E

ING

ON TIME OFF

ON LOSING

“Having a little bit of

“Nobody likes los-

extra time gave me a

ing. You definitely

good opportunity to

feel as though you

step back and look at

disappointed peo-

my game objectivelly

ple when you lose.

and realize that it’s

It’s not a good

not where it needs

feeling. That’s why

to be. Just working

we work so hard

on everything and

in the summer to

trying to become an

try and win again.

overall better, more well-rounded goaltender in every aspect. Getting a chance to step back and really watch a lot of video. Looking at it objectively I got to notice certain things that really needed work.”

ON FITNESS

That’s our goal.”

“Just more [conditioning]. More of the same stuff. More cardio, more upper body, more lower body. You always focus on the same things. You want to be strong while still maintaining your mobility as a goalie. You can’t just put on muscle and not worry about your mobility because then you’re stiff and you can’t move as well.” Current photos by Jake Mysliwczyk

10 | SEPT. 25, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENT

By Brian Metzer PITTSBURGH CURRENT HOCKEY WRITER brian@pittsburghcurrent.com Fortune telling is always entertaining. Whether it was Johnny Carson dressing up as Carnac the Magnificent while shouting, “Sis Boom Baa” with an envelope to his head or Conan O’Brien using flashlights and black cloaks to tell us what was going to happen in the year 2000, there was and is always a market for predictions. People love them. So get excited, because that is what you’re about to get. These predictions are bold — on purpose — and might sound outlandish, but if even half of them come to fruition the Penguins just might take back the NHL’s throne like a long lost Targaryen storming King’s Landing. » PHIL KESSEL has scored 83 goals and 221 points in 246 games since joining the Penguins for the 2015-16 season, but to date he's never reached the 100-point plateau. That will change this season, as he continues to thrive on Evgeni Malkin’s wing. Kessel's run towards the century mark will be bolstered by his time on the number one power play unit, where he'll collect over half of his points. » THE NHL HAS tried hard to pass the torch to Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, but they shouldn’t sleep on the one they previously pinned their hopes on – Sidney Crosby. Eyes may roll from Alberta to Tampa Bay at the thought, but Crosby is still very capable of winning not only


» THE PENGUINS SET a new franchise record last season scoring on 26.2 percent of their power play opportunities.

» FANS WON’T LIKE IT but look for Daniel Sprong to spend some time back in Wilkes Barre-Scranton early this season. Consistency is still an issue, as well as taking ill-timed penalties and the demotion will give time for introspection. Think Kris Letang during the 07-08 season. He was supposed to make the team, started in WBS before being called up and never looking back. » WITH SIX NHL caliber centers on the roster, Jim Rutherford will trade Derick Brassard before the end of the season. The presence of Riley Sheahan, Matt Cullen and Derek Grant make that an easy move and his roster spot and salary cap space can be used for a left wing or defenseman.

LITTLE ANTHONY & THE IMPERIALS W/GUESTS TERRY JOHNSON’S THE FLAMINGOS SAT • 9/15 • 7PM

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DENNIS DEYOUNG: THE GRAND ILLUSION 40TH ANNIVERSARY ALBUM TOUR FRI • 10/19 • 8PM

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» WE’VE ALREADY BEEN bold in predicting two Penguins who will reach the century mark and here’s the third – Malkin. Malkin averaged 1.26 points per game last season and that was after a late season cold spell that saw him pick up “only” 11 points in his final 12 games. As with Kessel, Malkin will feast on power play points, while bolstering his totals at even strength, thus giving the Penguins their first trio of 100 point scorers since Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and Ron Francis did it in 95-96.

They’ll do it again this season, finishing with a mark of 26.3 or higher. For the above predictions to come in, they need to produce on the power play and they will. Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, Kris Letang, Justin Schultz, and Olli Maatta will all spend time with the top unit and they’ll thrive.

RIVER CITY BRASS

another Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP, but another Art Ross Trophy as its top scorer. He scored 80 goals between the 15-16 and 16-17 seasons, but saw a drop to 29 last season. That was due in large part to a shooting percentage that fell to 11.7 percent. He won’t shoot the 17.3 percent of two seasons ago, but he’ll land somewhere between that and the 14.5 percent he registered in 15-16 and he’ll win the Art Ross with 106 points.

COMING EVENTS

PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 11


OPINION

Let’s get Fired Up By Aryanna Berringer PITTSBURGH CURRENT POLITICAL COLUMNIST aryanna@pitsburghcurrent.com There are a lot of new Democratic Party candidates going into the the November midterm elections. These were tough races and they were won by bold ideas by candidates who were willing to stand up for people. We saw this with the state legislative wins of Sara Innamorato and Summer Lee here in Pittsburgh and we’ve seen it nationally with the congressional wins of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, Ayanna Pressley in Massachusetts, as well as in the gubernatorial win of Andrew Gillum. What we haven’t seen here in Pennsylvania, however, is our own marquee race for Governor to carry this strategy of making bold moves into the General Election in November. And with less than 50 days remaining until voters go to the polls, it is unlikely to change. The game plan? Keep it lackluster. We are seeing voting trends around the nation of inspired women, especially black women, and young people, who, polling shows, are now the main factor in Democratic victories. Anyone feeling fired up and ready to go here in the Keystone state? So, if you’re apart of the aforementioned demographics, or hell, any demographic and your response to that question was a resounding, “Meh,” then allow me to do the job of lighting a fire under your backside. Roe v. Wade is on the ballot this November. No, individuals won’t get to actually vote on the Supreme Court decision, but you will get to vote for the next Governor of Pennsylvania. The first state to attempt to limit abortion access was Pennsylvania. In 1989, we signed into law the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act. While the Supreme Court upheld the basic right to abortion, the decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey in 1992 led to states having the expanded ability to restrict abortion. Since then, Pennsylvania has put in place a litany of abortion restrictions including state-mandated counseling that includes information specifically designed to discourage a woman from having an abortion. President Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. This would set us up to have the most conservative Supreme Courts in recent history. If that happens there is a very real possibility that Roe v. Wade is overturned and states will have control over this issue. Today we have Governor Tom Wolf at the helm who just 12 | SEPT. 25, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENT

last year vetoed a 20-week abortion ban. Tomorrow, it could be Scott Wagner who has stated that he agrees with one of the most restrictive abortion bills ever. It was proposed by state Rep. Rick Saccone and it outlaws any abortion in any case in which a fetal heartbeat can be detected. That can happen anytime between 6-8 weeks, often before many women realize they are pregnant. And what about Medicare for all, increasing the minimum wage, preventing sexual assault, banning assault weapons so our kids can go to school without the fear of another mass shooting? They are on the ballot, too. If you care what happens to these measures, then you have to vote for the person that shares your opinion on these matters. If Democratic Party operatives and talking heads want to again wallow in their beers on Election Night, wondering why turnout in key, affinity group demographics didn’t hit their goals, so be it.

They’re getting pretty good at it. But don’t blame it on old, tired lines like, “young people just don’t vote,” or come up with labels like “security moms” that make women look they cast their ballot as some shrinking violet. The fact is, Pennsylvania has a long history of uninspiring campaigns and candidates. There must be a secret campaign manual hidden somewhere in Harrisburg that makes it a requirement. And still they pontificate on why voter turnout continues to dwindle rather than face the truth. The truth? You need to be the campaign you want to see in Pennsylvania. Get engaged with what is at stake in 2018 and beyond. Use your voice, in whatever form is best for you and let your family, friends and neighbors know what those stakes are. I realize it’s a tough job to do without the help of a motivating force at the top. But just because you don’t see it in the form of a candidate doesn’t mean a motivating factor to vote isn’t there.


OPINION

NATURAL GRASS By Holden Green PITTSBURGH CURRENT CANNABIS CORRESPONDENT info@pittsburghcurrent.com Are you there, God? I’m Holden. I don’t get it. It’s 2018. Why isn’t grass legal yet? I know that no one besides Willie Nelson calls it grass anymore, but cannabis is just so… gentle. Nine states, plus the nation’s capital, sell it recreationally, and you haven’t wrecked any with your divine retribution. In Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, pounds are being turned into profit, and all that green is bringing in more, in the form of millions of dollars in tax revenue for schools and public services. In Pittsburgh, I have to text some guy from high school, and hit him with the, “You good, fam?” What’s up with that, God? This column, written by me, Holden Green, which is totally my real name (editor’s note: He’s lying), will explore the bipolar state of cannabis in America today, from medical news, to criminal justice, to local and cultural trends and maybe even product reviews, depending on the Pittsburgh Current’s policy with expense accounts. There has been some progress made both locally and across the state. Today in Pennsylvania, marijuana is available for purchase at licensed retailers for those who suffer from one of 21 medical conditions: serious ailments like cancer, Parkinson's, AIDS, and sickle cell anemia. Progress, for sure, especially since opioid use falls in states that offer medical marijuana. But what about the

rest of us? Aren't we all suffering from the existential dread brought on by thoughts of nuclear war, mass extinction, and creeping proto-fascism. Who do we petition to demand that “living in Trump’s America” become the 22nd allowable condition for buying medical marijuana in Pennsylvania? Pittsburgh, along with Philadelphia, Erie, York, Harrisburg, and State College have all decriminalized cannabis to some extent, meaning that you’ll get hit with a fine for having a small amount of grass in your possession. But there are caveats: In Pittsburgh, possession of under 30 grams is a civil violation, like a traffic ticket; however, it's up to the discretion of the officer to decide if they will issue a ticket, or, in accordance with state law, issue a misdemeanor and a summons to show up in court. (Arrests for marijuana possession in Pittsburgh have actually increased since decriminalization.) All this for a substance that is mostly harmless, with no risk of overdose, tremendous medical benefits, and legions of talented, creative supporters who use it for insight and inspiration, with nary a hangover to pay in the morning. Yes, I said mostly harmless. If you're an adolescent, all that THC is not good for your developing brain. If you're predisposed to certain mental illnesses, heavy marijuana use could hasten the onset. And if you cavalierly eat a 300mg edible, I don’t care who you are, you're gonna have a bad time. But those are the outliers. For the overwhelming majority of adults, a spliff with friends can be a joyous occasion. It's the original “pause that refreshes.” PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 13


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Pittsburgh Opera opens 80th Season with Puccini’s ‘Madama Butterfly’ Amanda Reed PITTSBURGH CURRENT STAFF WRITER amanda@pittsburghcurrent.com For its 80th season opener, Pittsburgh Opera general director Christopher Hanh just wants to please the crowd. “For a banner opening like your 80th anniversary, you want everybody to be happy, everybody to come and everybody celebrating,” he says. “[Madama Butterfly] is such a perennial favorite that people can never see enough of [it].” That’s been true in Hanh’s experience, considering he oversaw the work as the artistic administrator at the Los Angeles Opera, INFO: and the PittsMadama Butterfly. burgh Opera last Pittsburgh Opera. performed the program for its Through Oct. 14. 2012-2013 sea$14-$164. Benedum son. But, don’t Center, 237 Seventh expect a repeat performance. St., Downtown. 412“Every time 281-0912 or www. I’ve done it, pittsburghopera.org I’ve done it in a different production so people always get a new look at it,” Hahn says. Pittsburgh Opera opens with the Puccini work at the Benedum Center from Oct. 6 to Oct. 14. Set in Japan in 1904, the story revolves around Cio-Cio San, or Madama Butterfly (Soprano Dina Kuznetsova, making her Pittsburgh Opera debut), a young geisha who falls in love with Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton (Tenor Cody Austin), a U.S. naval officer who con-

Current Photo by Jake Mysliwczyk

siders their love affair as a casual fling. They wed, and his departure leaves Butterfly hopeful he’ll return. Tragedy ensues when he does. Hahn says that, thanks to its popularity and topical themes, including imperialism and the effects of culture clash, this particular opera speaks to many generations who haven’t experienced a Pittsburgh Opera production. “It’s a really good vehicle for opera putting its best foot forward in the community,” he says. According to Kuznetsova, who

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plays the title character, she first heard about Pittsburgh Opera as a young student visiting the city. Now taking the stage for the first time, she feels her career has come full circle after years of wanting to sing in Pittsburgh. “I know its reputation. I love being here and it’s a great company,” she said. Laurel Semerdjian, who plays Suzuki, Cio-Cio San’s maid, also expresses similar sentiments. The mezzo-soprano is a former Pittsburgh

Opera resident artist who considers Pittsburgh her home base. This is her first time back with the company. “It’s like a big homecoming reunion,” she says. However, this is not Semerdjian’s first time singing the role. She’s performed it with the Sarasota Opera in Florida in 2017 and with the Syracuse Opera in March. But, thanks to the mix of new artistic direction and cast members in each production, it’s hard to get bored. “[It] makes my job so much more


ARTS interesting,” she says. According to Kuznetsova and Semerdjian, the joys and the challenges of the work are intermixed. Kuznetsova says she’s challenged by telling a sensitive, believable story over two hours, but finds joy from the score, character development and timeless themes. “There are so many layers to Madame Butterfly and layers which are relevant in the modern as well as 100 years ago or 400 years ago when it was written, and just how one addresses them,” she says. Semerdjian says the role’s onstage responsibilities — Suzuki acts as the props manager, tea maker and child wrangler — can be hard to balance, but feels it’s a fulfilling one. “Kind of balancing all of that with the singing and the acting is always a challenge, but because it’s so much to

“I’m very happy with the extraordinary texture and range of the season because it allows us to reach out to all different segments of our audience and population.”

handle, it ends up being really rewarding in the end,” she says. “It’s a role that I absolutely love to do.” According to Semerdjian, the resident artist program has prepared her for a full-time career in opera, both nationally and in Pittsburgh, which she calls her homebase. “They really have prepared me well to come back and be a principal with them,” she says. After “Madama Butterfly,” Pitts-

U.S. PREMIERES

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERES

WORLD PREMIERES

burgh Opera will stage Englebert Humperdinck’s “Hansel & Gretel,“ based on the Brother’s Grimm fairytale, from Nov. 3 to Nov. 11, with a cast made up of current and former Pittsburgh Opera resident artists. They will stage a reimagined version of Mozart’s “Idomeneo,” about four star-crossed, war-torn royals from Crete, from Jan. 26 to Feb. 3. The company then stages Tom Cipullo’s “Glory Denied” in its Strip District headquarters from Feb. 23 to

March 3. They then perform Puccini’s “La Bohème” from March 30 to April 7 and finish the season with Donizetti’s comic opera, “Don Pasquale” from April 27 to May 5. According to Hanh, there’s something for everyone in the season, from the children who will enjoy “Hansel & Gretel” to opera fans who will take to “Idomeneo,” a less common opera. “I’m very happy with the extraordinary texture and range of the season because it allows us to reach out to all different segments of our audience and population,” he says. Although he wants to please the crowd, Hanh wants them to think, too. “I’m very hopeful that it will be a very popular season, as well as a searching one,” Hanh says, “one that’s thought provoking and not just entertainment, but very entertaining.”

IMMERSIVE PERFORMANCE DANCE VISUAL ART THEATER MUSIC

These are the ones you remember forever

SEPTEMBER 21 – NOVEMBER 11, 2018

TRUSTARTS.ORG/FIRSTS PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 15


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Heinz History Center exhibit takes you to the moon and back By Nick Eustis PITTSBURGH CURRENT CONTRIBUTING WRITER info@pittsburghcurrent.com Nearly 50 years ago, three Americans made an indelible mark on history when they left this world on a Saturn V rocket, and became the first humans to walk on the Moon. The Apollo 11 mission, piloted by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, fulfilled a promise President John F. Kennedy made before Congress in 1961: to land a man on the moon before the INFO: end of the 1960s. “Destination Its success was a Moon: The Apollo monumental feat of engineering, 11 Mission” will be the likes of which on display at the we’ve barely apHeinz History Center proached since. “Since going from September to the moon, 29 to February 17, which is about 2019. The exhibition 240,000 miles away, the farthest is included with a human has general museum gone from the admission. There planet is about will be a kick-off 300 miles. So 50 years later, we’re event at 9:30 a.m. not even close, on opening day. A and you think full list of public about all the events can be found technology we have now,” said at www.heinzhistoMichael Dubois, rycenter.org/events. director of design at the Heinz History Center. Answering just how three men made it to the Moon and back, as well as what the future holds for space travel, is the aim of the Heinz History

Official crew photo of the Apollo 11 Prime Crew. From left to right are astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Commander; Michael Collins, Command Module Pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module Pilot. Photo courtesy of NASA

Center’s upcoming feature exhibit, “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission.” The result of the Heinz History Center’s affiliation with the Smithsonian Institute, Pittsburgh will be the third of four stops on the exhibit’s cross-country tour while its home, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C., undergoes renovations. “Destination Moon” is particularly anticipated for its treasure trove of arti-

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facts from the famed journey, many of which have never left their D.C. home since 1970. “You’ll get to see flown objects, things like: Michael Collins’ helmet and gloves, daily journals, star charts they used, the survival kit they carried when they landed,” says Anne Madarasz, chief historian at the Heinz History Center. The piece de resistance of the exhibition is the original Columbia space

capsule, the only portion of the Apollo 11 spacecraft to return to Earth. With pieces of this caliber, it is appropriate that the History Center makes the exhibit hard to miss. A massive model of the Saturn V rocket serves as the entryway to “Destination Moon.” “Guests enter the exhibit through a gantry, styled after the gantry the astronauts used to board Apollo 11, and then go through a giant facade of


the rocket,” says Dubois. “So you’re walking into the rocket as if you’re an astronaut.” From there, guests are transported to the era of the Wright Brothers, to show how crucial the jump from Earth to the air is to the history of space exploration. “It’s like a movie. You know how it’s going to end, we all know they made it to the Moon, but let’s go back to when people were first thinking about flying,” Dubois said. The exhibition’s opening gallery, titled “The Dream of Flight,” captures aviation’s infancy in Pittsburgh. Blueprints for early aircraft designed by Pittsburghers are transformed into full sized cutouts flying overhead, and a piece of the original Wright Flyer’s wing is on display. From here, guests enter a winding gallery, focusing on the creation of the nationwide apparatus that would be required for a lunar mission.

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Apollo 11 command module Columbia. Photo by Eric Long, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

“Then you go into the exhibit and get into the nitty-gritty of how we got to the moon,” Dubois said. “This part of the exhibit is designed to be a little close quarters and tight, because the astro-

Q

poetic. license.

nauts were in these really small spaces.” This gallery leads to a replica of the hatch door of the lunar lander, the last thing the astronauts would see before stepping foot on the Moon, before lead-

ing to the climax of the exhibition. “When you turn the corner, the exhibit opens up and becomes this really large gallery, which is like the vastness of space,” Dubois said. A shrine to space history, this room contains a plethora of flown objects from the Apollo 11 mission, including the Columbia command capsule. “You just get hit with this amazing amount of content,” Dubois said. At the end of the exhibition, for example, is an interactive play area for kids of all ages, with several activities to make concepts more accessible to children. “We wanted to give kids a sense of how small the command module really was, give them a sense of what qualities of life are on the moon,” says Mariruth Leftwich, the History Center’s director of education. “We wanted to give kids CONTINUED

If you attend a Quantum Theatre performance of “Chatterton,” you won’t just watch the show. You’ll be immersed in it. You will, literally, have it for dinner.

– Kristy Locklin, NEXTpittsburgh

Sept.14 – Oct.28 Staged at Trinity Cathedral, Downtown A World Premiere Theatrical Experience including dinner by the celebrity chef of the week Based on the book by Peter Ackroyd • Directed by Karla Boos

Q theater that moves you.

Quantum Theatre

PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 17


ARTS CONTINUED FROM 17

PUCCINI’S

MADAMA BUTTERFLY Photo: David Bachman ©

a concrete and tactile example of the ideas we were talking about.” Included is a full scale replica of the command capsule, which guests can climb inside to get a feel for how small a space the astronauts occupied. Guests can also try to land the lunar module on the Moon via a video game, and experience just how hard it was for astronauts to collect samples. “Guests can reach into astronaut suit arms, and try and pick up moon rocks,” Leftw ich said. “Thes uits aren’t bendable, so they had to try and pick up these scientifics pecimens using, essentially, hand-grabbers.” Afterade luge of history, a differ ent side of the story comes into view. The exhibition’s penultimate section is dedicated to the role Pittsburgh companies and people played in this massive story. “It took 400,000 people to get those guys to the Moon,” Madarasz said. “Ther e’s a huge number of people that made that mission possible, and some of those people grew up here and trained here, so we talk about their contributions to the Space Race.” Thew ork of corporations rooted in Pittsburgh, like ALCOA and Westinghouse, is featured prominently. “When Neil Armstrong stepped out of the Eagle to the moon, the hatch was made with ALCOA aluminum,” Madarasz said. “He got down on the surface and he immediately set up the camera that Westinghouse made to beam back images to Earth.” Theexhi bit emphasizes Pittsburgh’s place not just in the history of space travel, but the future as well. Featured in this gallery is a prototype lunar lander designed by Astrobotic, a Pittsburgh based aerospace engineering company. “We also talk about companies like Astrobotic, a CMU spinoff,t hat’s developing a lander to deliver commercial payloads to the Moon by 2020,” Madarasz says. “If you come together with a singular purpose, you can make great strides. “It takes a lot of people whose names aren’t remembered by history to make something like this happen.”

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Love, betrayal, and sacrifice OCTOBER 6, 9, 12, 14

• Benedum Center • Tickets start at $14; Half-price tickets for kids 6-18 • 412-456-6666 • pittsburghopera.org/butterfly UNDERSTAND EVERY WORD! English texts projected above the stage. Tuesday Night Sponsor: Ambridge Regional Distribution & Manufacturing Center

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Bodiography Expands Its Reach With New 2018-2019 Season Amanda Reed PITTSBURGH CURRENT STAFF WRITER amanda@pittsburghcurrent.com From traveling to Europe for a tour to performing with the Graham 2, the pre-professional dance company of the Martha Graham School, Maria Caruso and her dance company, Bodiography, have a busy season ahead of them. But, Caruso says she couldn’t be happier about it. “I’m really excited about the season because I’m doing a lot of traveling and touring with my entire company and I think it’s really the first time I’ve had the opportunity to connect with them on more than one tour,” she says. Bodiography’s season begins Sept. 29 at the Succop Theater at the Butler Community College, kicking off a year filled with works old and new across the U.S. and beyond. According to Caruso, who is also the chair of the La Roche College Performing Arts Department, the first performance of every season happens at the Succop Theater at Butler County Community College. But, this time around, Caruso is incorporating a community aspect to the show, inspired by Bodiography’s recent Southern tour, where she invited dancers from the region to perform works she was commissioned to choreograph on tour. “I’m from a small town like Butler, and I wanted to take the work to a rural area where it was a bit more accessible, and that’s how that came about,” she says, “This is the first time ever I’m creating a specific community component for one of our shows” Specifically, she invited dancers from Butler County to perform a work created for them. Along with this community performance, the night features performances by BCB3, a troupe of Bodiography dancers who work on a part-time, project basis, La Roche College Dance majors, and a performance of Martha Graham’s “Lamentation” solo, which is rarely performed by an artist outside of the Graham company. Caruso’s dancers will also perform “Doors and Windows,” a retrospective of how she created Bodiography as told

‘I’m from a small town like Butler and I wanted to take the work to a rural area.’

from the artists’ perspective, with a reference to Graham’s work. “In the work I reference the ‘Lamentation’ solo and recreate it in my own way,” Caruso says. The Bodiography dancers will then step off the stage into the Frick Pittsburgh on November 10 at 8 p.m. to perform a movement installation inspired by or tied into the artwork of Isabelle de Borchgrave, whose paper costumes and sculptures are on display at the museum beginning on Oct. 13. According to Caruso, “interactive” isn’t the right word to describe the performance. “It’s not like you just come in and sit and watch a show,” she says. “There’s more texture to it.” After a three-year hiatus, Caruso will then bring back “Multiplicity,” a work that incorporates choreography from Bodiography artists at the Byham Center on Nov. 16 and 17. This performance incorporates all aspects of Bodiography, including Bodiography Contemporary Ballet, BCB3, Bodiography Charlotte, a North Carolina-based extension of the company, for the first time. “It’s a collection of different works by guest artists and it just really showcases all of the different facets of the Bodiography performance company,” Caruso says. The night also includes dance selections by La Roche College dance majors and marks Bodiography Charlotte’s Pittsburgh premiere. Then, La Roche College Dance Majors and Bodiography Center for Movement — the dance conservatory arm of the company — will present free performances of The Nutcracker from Dec. 7 through Dec. 9 at the La

Roche Motherhouse Auditorium. The company travels to Europe for a tour from March 7 through 17, where they will perform, teach and take master classes, and travel to London, Manchester, Paris and Berlin. After its Spring Gala on March 1, the company will perform a program titled “Horizons” at the Byham Theater, with Bodiography teaming up with Graham 2, the pre-professional dance company of the Martha Graham School, the first collaborative effort between both companies. “Having a Pittsburgh-based dance company work with the oldest modern dance company in America and one of the most celebrated dance companies in the world is a huge honor and privilege and we’re really excited about that,” she says. Bodiography will then perform a commissioned 80s-inspired work in May for the Avenel Performing Arts Center in Avenel, New Jersey, which is set to open later this year. “It’s got a really amazing jazz-contemporary kind of feel and it’s being created just for the theater. “It’s a great shift for me, and it’s great to get out of my zone,” Caruso says. Bodiography will then close its season on June 1 for its spring concert at the Byham Theater, where level one students through to college preparatory students in the Bodiography Center for Movement will perform. After doing touring of her own, Caruso says it’s natural for her to take her company outside of the Steel City during its busy season. “We’re really kind of stretching ourselves to broaden our expanse as a dance company and to kind of invest in places outside of the region,” she says.

INFO: Butler Community College Presents Bodiography. 8 p.m. Sept. 29. Succop Theater, 107 College Dr, Butler. For more about Bodiography, visit www. bodiographycbc .com

PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 19


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Barebones Productions brings ‘Lobby Hero’ to Braddock theater Amanda Reed PC STAFF WRITER amanda@pittsburghcurrent.com Patrick Jordan wears many hats in Barebones Productions’ production of Kenneth Lonergan’s 2001 play, “Lobby Hero;” he serves as artistic director of the company, and plays Bill, the mustachioed, swaggerific senior officer of the cop quartet. “She [director Melissa Martin] read the play and was like, ‘you have to play this part,’” he says. “I feel like Bill is a character I can play. I kinda feel like I know the guy.” The dramedy, which begins on Sept. 28, is set entirely in the entryway of a Manhattan apartment building and follows four New York security INFO: guards: Jeff, (Gabriel King), Bill (Pat8 p.m. Through Oct. rick Jordan), William (Rico Romalus 20 $35. Barebones Parker in his Barebones debut) and Dawn (Jessie Wray Goodman, also Black Box Theater, making her Barebones debut). 1211 Braddock Ave., Rapport among the four turns Braddock. when William finds out his brother is arrested for murder, ensuing in spilled www.Barebones secrets and broken friendships. Productions.com According to Jordan, “Barebones” — in reference to the theater company, which was founded in 2003 — could mean a stripped down set (as it often has), but Barebones can also refer to the kind of play the company does and how they approach it. “We’re playwright-driven and actor-driven first and foremost, that is the most important thing to us,” he says. Jordan initially planned to stage “Lobby Hero” in repertory with another Lonergan play, “This is Our Youth,” in 2004. However, the Pittsburgh Public Theater was also doing a production of “Lobby Hero,” and Barebones found it difficult to create two sets with their budget. More than a decade later, Jordan decided to bring it back. “We figured we didn’t want a whole generation of Pittsburghers to miss this play, because in all honesty, with the way the play reads and the way we’re playing it, I feel like it’s more relevant today than when it was written,” he says “So many things have happened since this play was written.” One of those things includes the revitalization of 20 | SEPT. 25, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENT

‘The way the play reads and the way we’re playing it, I feel like it’s more relevant today since when it was written. So many things have happened since this play was written.’

Braddock, with the Free Store, Brew Gentleman and, most notably, Superior Motors, which opened one year ago to national acclaim. The Barebones Black Box, the 70-seat theater where Barebones Productions performs, is located inside Superior Motors. After touring the space with Braddock Mayor John Fetterman and Superior Motors chef/ owner Kevin Sousa, Jordan noticed that the ceilings were high enough to build a small theater. “‘And they were like, ‘oh shit, guess we have to put in a theater,’” Jordan says Although smaller than most venues, the small space fits in with Barebones’ mission and history. “We started out in storefronts and bars and coffee shops,” Jordan says. “Our first play was in a storage room under a bowling alley.” According to Jordan, this intimacy allows for the audience to connect with the actors, since the performers onstage don’t have to work as hard to make people sitting in the back row feel an emotional impact. “We can exchange looks without having to dramatize things, so it can be real,” Jordan says. “Ideally, it will be like the audience is looking in a keyhole on a real situation.” With themes of sexual harassment in the workplace, racism and morality, along with a plot that focuses around working-class people who become tangled in lies, deceit, love and heartbreak, Jordan says there really is something — or, at least a real-life parallel — for everyone in “Lobby Hero.” “Everybody knows these characters,” he says. “These are people that you know.”


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Young Adult authors collaborate on women’s history book By Jody DiPerna PITTSBURGH CURRENT CONTRIBUTING WRITER Jody@pittsburghcurrent.com History vs Women: The Defiant Lives That They Don't Want You to Know, a title for young adults just released by Macmillan, takes a fresh view of history. Written by Anita Sarkeesian and Ebony Adams, the book profiles 25 women and is a breathtaking ramble from third-century Vietnam to fourteenth-century Italy, from ninth-century Morocco to nineteenth-century China and 20th century United States. Each chapter is a brisk read, with driving and sometimes elegant prose. There are stunning illustrations by T.S. Abe that bring each subject to life with movement and humanity. "It is incredibly daunting to pick 25 women out of the whole of history. We want to show that women in the third century, the fourth century were doing cool things. There were women who were active in those moments: they were making a difference in the world. We often look at history and say, well, women didn't do anything. That is because women were not allowed to participate," Sarkeesian told the Pittsburgh Current via telephone from Los Angeles. "So we're talking about women who pushed through these systems that denied them their intelligence, their skill, their talents. And also had their lives recorded. These are the exceptional few women who made it through all of those barriers." Though this book is the first such effort for Adams and Sarkeesian, they collaborate regularly as two of the women behind Feminist Frequency, a not-for-profit organization that analyzes gender, race and sexuality in media -- film, television, literature, so-

cial media and video games. Sarkeesian started Feminist Frequency in 2009 and 2012/2013 video series, 'Tropes versus Women,' which examined portrayals of women in video games sparked a malevolent online harassment campaign (including death and rape threats.) Feminist Frequency has only grown since then and, needless to say, Sarkeesian remains steadfast in her commitment to the project. The subjects of this particular collection are from all over the globe. Quite deliberately so. The only real parameter the authors used was not to profile any living women. This history is not meant to be the complete analysis, but a dip in the shallow end sparking further interest and exploration. It is intended to get the reader thinking about history as a construct and how it is often taught. 'History vs Women' seeks to tip the scales, even a little bit, toward balance and inclusivity. There are histories which are ignored, overlooked or deliberately withheld. Sarkeesian and Adams ask these simple questions: Why don't we know about Bà Triệu, a Vietnamese freedom fighter? Why didn't we learn about Sikh warrior Mai Bhago? There are pirates and ballerinas, journalists and crusading princesses, novelists and prime ministers, philosophers, thieves and legal scholars. Just as importantly, there are everyday heroes, like Lucy Hicks Anderson, who was the first transwoman to defend her gender in court. She didn't want to be a hero. She didn't want to stride the earth like a colossus (as does Bà Triệu.) She just wanted to live her full life, born in a body that did not match her gender. Hers is one of the more moving stories. "There's something about the particular kind of quiet courage with which she lived her life, which is almost

mind-boggling to me. She was quietly but insistently committed to living her truth. I will always be blown away by Lucy Hicks Anderson," said Adams. Others, too, simply sought to live as they pleased. Bessie Stringfield was an African-American woman who, in the 1930's, rode her motorcycle across America. She often had to sleep with her bike outside gas stations because hotels were not open to black Americans. But, as Sarkeesian said, "she did it anyway." Then there is Griselda Blanco, one of the women in the villains category who is Al Capone, Pablo Escobar and Walter White rolled into one. If she

were a man, there would be a dozen or more film treatments based on her life. Sure, she's horrible, rapacious and murderous -- but she's also mesmerizing. "The goal of documenting history is not to re-write the history," said Adams. "And it's not to sanitize the history. It's to show what happened and where we came from and to help us to see how to move forward in the future," said Adams. "The project of feminism is not to sanitize and only show the women who are doing heroic, amazing things. It is to show the fullness of women."

Chris Setlock Kitchen and Bath Design chris.m.setlock@gmail.com 412-368-2270

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www.CSKandB.com www.houzz.com/pro/chris-m-setlock PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 21


MUSIC

August Wilson Center hosts first Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival By Melanie Stangl PITTSBURGH CURRENT CONTRIBUTING WRITING info@pghcitypaper.com The long, hot days of summer might be winding down, but live music in Pittsburgh isn’t hibernating just yet. From September 28-30, the African-American Cultural Center will host the first-ever Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival at the August Wilson Center, Downtown. The festival will feature performances by nationally and internationally acclaimed stars of the genre including singer Bettye LaVette, a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock and guitarist John Scofield, alongside local/regional blues and soul acts. Parties, workshops, discussions, and kid-friendly programs are also planned, in what promises to be a celebration of the music’s rich history and exciting future. “The idea was brought to our president and CEO Janis Burley Wilson by Highmark at the top of 2018,” says Cydney Nunn, Marketing and PR Manager at the AWC. “Because of August Wilson’s strong ties to blues, and the fact that there is no other blues festival inside the City of Pittsburgh, it was a perfect opportunity for us to add this as a signature event.” With an appealing mix of free and ticketed programs, the festival offers something for newcomers and aficionados alike. The kickoff party on Friday night, titled “A Taste of Blues,” will feature samples of BBQ-inspired dishes from many local restaurants. An extensive lineup of performers will provide the live soundtrack, including rising blues star Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton and local group Lyndsey Smith and Soul Distribution. Saturday will feature an all-day line-

Bettye LaVette

up of free concerts, starting bright and early at 11:30 AM. (Don’t miss the Billy Price Band at 12:30 p.m.) The outdoor stage on Liberty Avenue will let attendees enjoy the early fall weather, while the final few shows will take place inside. The night will culminate with Bettye LaVette’s (ticketed) performance in the AWC. “I think the entire day Saturday is going to be fast-paced, high energy, and a lot of fun for the whole family,” says Nunn. That includes the kids. A free, hour-long “Lil Juke Joint” class will introduce children aged 8 or younger to the blues, with plenty of examples and audience participation. “Blues

22 | SEPT. 25, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENT

101,” meanwhile, will offer a deeper look into the themes, techniques, and history of the genre, geared towards adults. An open discussion with Deva Mahal (daughter of blues legend Taj Mahal and a soul/R&B singer in her own right) will also take place that afternoon. The final two headliners are scheduled for Sunday: Sweet Honey in the Rock at 4 p.m. and John Scofield at 8 p.m. Scofield will even be hosting a free guitar clinic at 11 a.m., offering a rare, personal opportunity for guitarists and fans. (Pre-registration is required.) It’s clear that the Blues & Heritage Festival was designed to bring together

Pittsburgh artists, blues lovers, and live music fans in general, not just to listen but to learn about and celebrate the legacy of this important art form. That, Nunn says, will help ensure the genre’s future. “We’re always looking for new ways to engage with our community and region,” concludes Nunn. “Music is truly a universal language. Following the success of the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, we wanted to tap into a new audience and give more people in Pittsburgh an opportunity to connect.” For more information about the festival, visit the August Wilson Center’s website at www.aacc-awc.org/.


Current Comics

Matt Bors

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ANDREA SHOCKLING

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Jim Benton

Tommy Link

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Man’s Best Friend

Phil Juliano

DJ Coffman

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MUSIC

Descendants of Crom festival returns for second year of sludge, rock & roll By Margaret Welsh PITTSBURGH CURRENT MUSIC EDITOR Margaret@pittsburghcurrent.com Shy Kennedy has a vision for the future of Descendants of Crom, her festival of doom, sludge, rock and underground music. “There’s a thing in Europe where they’re like, ‘no Americans can throw a festival like us!’” she says with a laugh. “I would just like people in Europe to [talk about] this festival, like, ‘We gotta get over there!” Coming from someone else, this might sound like an improbable daydream. But with both Kennedy’s organizational skills and her passion for heavy music, it’s not such a lofty goal. INFO: Before debuting the festival at Cattivo last September, Kennedy, DECENDANTS who runs the small label and design OF CROM. Precompany called Blackseed Design, festival gala, 8 had never booked more than three or four bands in a night. So when, with a p.m. Thursday, shockingly barebones staff (including Sept. 27. Howlers, two stage managers, a door person 4509 Liberty Ave., and someone selling merch) she Bloomfield. $12. managed to pull off a 17-band lineup, while maintaining a positive and enMain festival, 4 p.m. ergetic atmosphere, it seemed nothing Friday, Sept. 28 and short of miraculous. Saturday, Sept. 29. This year Kennedy has more help. But she’s also added another day — Cattivo, 146 44th the fest is again happening at Cattivo St., Lawrenceville. ­— and a pre-festival gala at Howlers, $35-82. Visit www. bringing the total number of bands to 36. descendants “The idea is to have a huge variety,” ofcrom.com for full says Kennedy. “It’s about really mixing schedule. it up and showcasing different bands.” Though Kennedy dislikes the term “headliner” (“There’s no rockstar-effect in this scene,” she says. “Everybody puts their work in.”), the lineup features some high-profile acts, including New Hampshire sludge band Come to Grief, doom rockers Mos Generator from Washington State, and just-about-toblow-up proggy stoner band Forming the Void. Local bands are well represented as well, including Molasses Barge, Urns, Solarburn and Kennedy’s own band, Horehound, among others.

Molasses Barge (Photo: Shy Kennedy)

Sets are staggered between two stages so, if you’re up for it, it’s possible to catch every single band. And that setup makes it even more important to assemble the perfect mix of sounds and subgenres: “You can’t listen to ten traditional doom bands in a row,” Kennedy points out. “You’re going to drift off.” Ultimately, Kennedy won’t book a band for the fest unless it’s something she really loves – “musically it’s going to be amazing from start to end, for me, she laughs” – but Descendants of Crom isn’t a personal ego trip. It’s about building community in the heavy music scene on a national, and (eventually) global scale. It also enables local bands to build relationships with bands from around the country, which leads to touring opportunities and increased exposure for the Pittsburgh music scene. “It’s hard to book out of town if you don’t have a connection,” Ken-

nedy says. “This absolutely does that.” “Metal” Mary Bielich, who appeared last year for a reunion set with classic Pittsburgh doom band Penance, was thrilled to be a part of the inaugural festival. “Descendants of Crom is a textbook example of a music fest that is put on by the right person with the right attitude, and for all the right reasons,” Bielich says via email, echoing the experience of many other musicians and attendees. “It's hard to believe that just one person can take on such an event and knock it out of the park on the first try, but she did.” But, of course, Kennedy can’t be expected to make it happen all on her own, and she welcomes whatever support people are willing to offer. “Every single person who participates is important,” she says. “We all need to come together where we can.” PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 27


MUSIC

SWAPPING TOONS FOR TUNES With Red Beans & Rice Combo, cartoonist Wayno showcases his lesser-known auditory skills By Mike Shanley PITTSBURGH CURRENT CONTRIBUTING WRITER info@pittsburghcurrent.com Wayno, the Pittsburgh artist who goes by a single name, is well known for his visual work. His signature illustration style has graced albums by Karl Hendricks and the Cynics. Earlier this year, he took on the formidable task of inking the weekday installments of Bizarro, the syndicated comic strip created by Dan Piraro, who continues to draw the Sunday edition himself. But there exists another side of Wayno that might not be as widely known as his artwork. This side involves a harmonica, an occasional ukulele and a set of vocal pipes that can tackle more light-hearted versions of New Orleans-style blues. Wayno makes up one-third of the Red Beans & Rice Combo. Even with a lineup that could be considered sparse, the group serves up a full sound that doesn’t need any more instruments. Wayno met pianist Tom Roberts in 2016, when the latter was presenting a documentary at the Hollywood Theater on the colorful New Orleans pianist James Booker. Roberts grew up in Pittsburgh but throughout a wide-ranging musical career, he lived in New Orleans for several years and toured with the legendary Leon Redbone. With an encyclopedic knowledge of early jazz and rhythm and blues, as well as a massive collection of 78s, Roberts hit it off with the cartoonist. Wayno had played in the band the Chalk Outlines a few years prior to their encounter, and he was casting around for something to do. Despite having ongoing projects like a tango duo and providing music for silent movies, Roberts was interested. Dave Klug, drummer of numerous local bands including the Chalk Outlines, became the third piece in the puzzle. All 10 songs on the Red Beans & Rice Combo’s debut CD, Let the Joy Begin, could be considered classics, though some might be more widely known than others. “Mardi Gras in New Orleans” features a funky second line beat, topped off by some strong whistling by Roberts. “One Meat Ball” — the minor tale of a fellow who can only afford a meal consisting of that one item — has as much of a connection to Tin Pan Alley, but the trio still keeps it steeped in blues. Among the deeper cuts, one of the more engaging is “Who Drank My Beer,” a question first posed by Dave Bartholomew, a Big Easy 28 | SEPT. 25, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENT

Red Beans and Rice

native who also played with Fats Domino. Roberts’ tenure with Leon Redbone also taught a valuable lesson that the Red Beans & Rice Combo takes to heart. “He’s always reminding us that one of the things that Redbone told him is that if you have fewer people in the group, you actually hold back more, play less and leave more space,” Wayno says. Roberts “tells us that in Redbone’s [low, drawling] voice.” Regarding their instrumentation, Wayno liked the idea of trying something with no guitars. The lack of a bass never limits the group either, thanks to Roberts’ strong left hand, which takes care of the low end of the music. And Klug’s drumming accentuates the songs, rather than just keeping time. “Those two guys have a psychic connection now,” Wayno says. “I really love to watch them because they’re always looking at each other to see

what to do. Dave’s a really versatile drummer.” For Wayno’s part, his vocals balance the comedic tone of the lyrics with the right amount of bluesy cry in his voice. He knows how to blow a harmonica (harp, that is) with authority. But a requirement at the debut show brought another instrument into the band. Playing before a screening of Orson Wells’ The Third Man at the Hollywood Theater, the group’s set had to include “The Third Man Theme,” which has a distinct zither part. Without any strings in the band, Roberts had an idea for Wayno. “‘Get a ukulele, you can learn to how to do that,’” Wayno recalls being told. “I reluctantly did. But I ended up really liking it. Now we use it on a third of the material we do, wherever I can fit it in. “That’s the other thing I like about playing with these guys,” he adds with a laugh. “It’s forced me to stretch, and do things I wouldn’t have done.”


MUSIC

HOT STUFF The latest from veteran noise-rock trio Microwaves is a ‘best of’ of new material By Justin Vellucci PITTSBURGH CURRENT CONTRIBUTING WRITER info@pittsburghcurrent.com Microwaves is at a crossroads. The Pittsburgh trio, which has been soldering together noise-rock, no wave and art-metal for 18 years now, has a new record out September 28 – a barn-burner titled, Via Weightlessness on Three One G, a label run by INFO: The Locust’s Justin Pearson. And MICROWAVES while the band RECORD RELEASE has been down SHOW with CHANthis road before – this is the sixth TILLION, TARTARUS, Microwaves LP – OPIE/WULFF DUO. 8 this time it feels p.m., Saturday, Sept. just a little bit 29. Howlers, 4509 different. “We’ve really Liberty Ave., Bloomgot something field. 412-682-0320 here,” says John Roman, the band’s drummer. “I think this is a great place for someone [unfamiliar with Microwaves] to start. I think the new one is kind of a ‘best of,’ even though it’s all new songs.” One listen and you’ll get Roman’s point. From the mathy, prog-punk descents of Dave Kuzy’s guitar on the title track, to the metallic crunch and wallop of the pleasantly titled “Love

Catheter,” this is a record that strives to drill its cybernetic earworms deeper and deeper into your cerebellum. In 12 blistering songs running under 27 minutes, Microwaves scorches earth with a delivery that is exceptionally visceral for a band this far into its tenure. Kuzy attributes the buzz the band is drawing with Via Weightlessness to the current line-up; after a series of revolving players, Johnny Arlett joined on bass and vocals in 2012 and the from there the trio has really clicked. “I think, unlike a lot of our past records, it all sort of fits together better,” Kuzy explains. “Just having the same people working together for six years? It helps the material.” The writing this time around also benefits from a range of reference points. While Kuzy’s guitar sometimes hints at the prog-metal complexities of Orthrelm, the band’s jagged rhythms call to mind a marriage of Canadian metal band Voivod and the quirky new wave of early Devo. Like several bands stalking the nation – Reno’s Elephant Rifle and Austin’s Exhalants come to mind -- Microwaves also seems to take great joy in challenging the conventions of noise-rock. “We wanted to push ourselves into uncharted territory,” Roman says. “Generally, it’s tough to fit in. And that was the point all along – we weren’t trying to fit in. For better or worse, mission accomplished.”

Microwaves.

OCT

3

Anita Sarkeesian & Ebony Adams

Carnegie Lecture Hall 7:00 pm Tickets $10

pittsburghlectures.org PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 29


MUSIC

TRACK LISTINGS

A SAMPLING OF UPCOMING CONCERTS IN AND AROUND PITTSBURGH By Margaret Welsh PITTSBURGH CURRENT MUSIC EDITOR margaret@pittsburghcurrent.com

visceral emotional realities of adolescence and young adulthood. It’s a sneaky kind of power she possesses: one second you’re idly bopping along to some bubbly stream-of-conscious melody, the next you’ve been knocked on your ass by a deceptively simple line like “I wish nobody understood me/so you could be/ the one who did.” Don’t miss the band when it comes to the Mr. Roboto Project Tuesday, Oct. 2. 7 p.m. 5106 Penn Ave., Friendship. $16. All ages. www.therobotoproject.com

OPERA On Thursday, Sept. 27, leave your sad peanut butter and jelly at your desk, and head to the Market Square Farmers Market, where the Pittsburgh Opera’s 2018-19 Resident Artists will present a free open-air concert, featuring a selection of operatic favorites. The highly competitive resident program gathers talented individuals, giving them the opportunity to perform both in Pittsburgh Opera mainstage production, and as part of various outreach programs. So pencil in a proper lunch break, enjoy the bounty of the farmers market and see some stellar performances by future stars of the opera world. 11:30 a.m. Market Square, Downtown. All ages. www.pittsburghopera.org

PUNK Prepare to get ripped apart when Sial appears at the Rock Room Friday, Oct. 5. The blazingly (and beautify) abrasive Singapore hardcore band offers furious, moshable riffs. Performing in their native language of Malay, Sial rages against Western imperialism on behalf of the marginalized and voiceless, expressing a ferocity that transcends language barriers. It’s not an optimistic project – as the band told Maximum Rock and Roll when asked about the future of the band, “No future. The world is dying and so is punk,” – but optimism is overrated. Locals S.L.I.P. and De Rodillas also appear. 9 p.m. 1054 Herron Ave., Polish Hill. 412-683-4418

FUNK I’m sure there are people alive today who are cooler, or freakier, or who have lived more, or who have left artistic fingerprints on more genres than George Clinton, but that list is probably pretty short (and Clinton is probably more likely to be an alien than any of them). As a part of the Parliament-Funkadelic collective, Clinton helped spawn the hip-hop of the 1990s, but also influenced everything from soul to disco to acid rock to post punk. Saturday, Sept. 29, Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic come to Stage AE with a parade of classic funk contemporaries including Zapp, The Mary Jane Girls and Steve Arrington of Slave. 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Drive, North Side. $35-85. All ages. www.stageae.com

FESTIVAL

George Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic

INDIE ROCK “There’s something about the music you listen to in high school,” Greta Klein told the New York Times in a recent profile. “When you hear it, it takes you right back.” It’s not an earth shattering observa30 | SEPT. 25, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENT

tion, but it reflects something true about the music she makes with her lo-fi indie pop band, Frankie Cosmos. At 24, the prolific Klein taps so deftly into the day-to-day ups and downs of life that, even on the first listen, her songs transport the listener to the

Now it its sophomore year, the Le Crème free music festival takes over the Allentown Business District on Saturday, Oct. 6. The packed lineup includes both local and national artists, including long-standing Arizona-based cow-punk band Supersuckers, and Pittsburgh’s own Jim Donovan & Sun King Warriors. Liz Berlin and Phat Man Dee’s project Social Justice Disco appears too, along with heavy metal veteran Chip DiMonick’s new, power-pop-y project Chip & the Charge Ups, rapper Rukkiss, and more. The fest is put together by Allentown-based label and record shop SuperMonkey Recording Co., so SuperMonkey (the rock band! It’s a quasi-empire!) will be there, as will the winners of the SuperMonkey-sponsored PennRock Scholarship. 1 p.m. – 11 p.m. www.ilovesupermonkey.com


FOOD This Tastes Funny

Dinner with Rick Sebak at Magee Women’s Hospital By Charlie Deitch PITTSBURGH CURRENT EDITOR charlie@pittsburghcurrent.com I can’t lie. Like most Pittsburghers familiar with the work of WQED documentarian Rick Sebak, I always thought it would be fun to go to dinner with him. He’s a great conversationalist and anyone who’s seen any of his documentaries— Kennywood Memories or Things That Aren’t There Anymore or Things That Are Still Here or A Hot Dog Program, to name just a few—know he’s a great story teller. He also loves food, Pittsburgh food in fact, and he dines out frequently. So, he knows just about everybody and every type of cuisine in the Steel City. He really is this city’s “Man About Town.” Recently, I finally got the chance to sit down and have a meal with the man himself. Although, admittedly, it wasn’t what I originally imagined it would be. At the end of August, Sebak fell and ruptured the quadriceps tendon in his left knee. He was leaving work one evening and carrying a case of Pelligrino water. He fell a short distance off some steps and the tendon blew out. He had surgery the next morning at UPMC’s Montefiore Hospital and started the road to recovery. After two weeks in the hospital he and the 55 staples in his knee were moved to a rehabilitation unit at Magee Women’s Hospital where he expects to stay until next month. It can be tough getting through an injury that seriously limits your mobility and leaves you constrained to one place for so long. But in true Rick

Rick Sebak. Current photo by Jake Mysliwczyk

Sebak fashion, he has been making the best of it by doing daily updates on Facebook talking about the food he’s been eating in the hospital. So, in mid-September, Current Visuals Editor Jake Mysliwczyk and I went to Magee to have dinner with Sebak. I thought it would be fun to critique hospital food with a legend like Rick. Looking back, I should have

known this wouldn’t be a traditional hospital dining experience. “The food’s on the way,” Sebak told us shortly after we arrived. At first I thought he had ordered it from the facility’s dining service, but hospital food for Rick Sebak has been more than the stereotypical mystery meat and gray mashed potatoes. For one thing, Sebak says hospital food has gotten much

better over the years. In fact, he muses, once he’s out he may have to come back for the potato-crusted cod he’s been eating (we tried it later on and it was pretty tasty). Secondly, he’s Rick “fucking” Sebak, Man About Town. And when he can’t get out on the town, the town comes CONTINUED

PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 31


FOOD CONTINUED to him. “I’ve gotten tons of food gifts,” says Sebak, who has to be the model patient. He’s cheery, sunny and generally of good temper. “A friend brought back these mints from New Jersey that I love. Ben Sloan, who I don’t know, is the executive chef at Kaya and he called up and said he wanted to bring me fried chicken. I’ve had so many visitors like that. People have just been wonderful and, honestly, the time has just flown by.” Sebak’s hospital meals have generally fallen into two categories: hospital food he’s doctored up and food that people bring in. As we prepare to go to the facility’s dining room, Sebak begins plucking items from the window ledge beside his chair: a bottle of hot sauce, a container of small mini cherry tomatoes, other sauces, real silverware and plates. “My sister and her man, Bill, brought me dinner and she brought plates and silverware and I told her to leave them,” Sebak says. “Just because you’re in the hospital doesn’t mean that dinner still can’t be an experience. “When Ben Sloan came from Kaya, he brought me his own bottled hot sauce, called Jammer Sauce, and I kept it. And then I asked my camera man to bring me some crushed red pepper. It’s all about presentation.” On the delivery front, Sebak’s hospital stay has been a never-ending parade of friends bringing him local delicacies. “Since I’ve been here, I think I’ve only ordered dinner three times,” Sebak says with a chuckle. “It all started as a surprise. My friend Zach Tanner and his wife were my first visitors and they brought me an O-dog with Fries from the Original Hot Dog Shop when I was still in Montefiore.” Ever the documentarian, Sebak began posting about his meals on Facebook. His friends enjoyed them and they led to more deliveries. As we chat about food and Pittsburgh, Andy Wincko of Pittsburgh Smokehouse enters the room with enough food to feed the whole floor. Our dinner consists of smoked brisket sliders, Texas baked beans, vinegar cole-

Sebak has been sharing his hospital meals on Facebook. Current photos by Jake Mysliwczyk

slaw and bacon steaks—a large piece of thick-cut bacon on a skewer that tastes every bit as good as you think it would. “This bacon is incredible,” Sebak gushes. “I had it for second breakfast yesterday with an apple. I wanted to put something on the plate so at least it didn’t look like I was only eating a big slab of bacon!” Food and the dining experience are a big part of Sebak’s life. “I swear Rick didn’t choose this place because of the quality of care but because of the quality of the menu,” Wincko says with a chuckle. “The quality of hospital food has definitely improved over the years,” Sebak says. “But I think that’s indicative of our culture which has also put more importance on food and dining.” The food on this evening was delicious but the company and conversation were even better, which bolster’s Sebak’s argument that any dining experience

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can be special with the right mix of food, atmosphere and company. As we begin to clear the table, Sebak insists on doing the dishes because he was, after all, the host. And a good host always makes sure his guest leaves with a doggie bag.

“Now, look you guys,” Sebak says as we prepared to leave. “I have so much stuff, you take this food with you. It’s too much. “Except,” he says with a pause and grin. “Leave that bacon for tomorrow’s second breakfast.”


FOOD 5 Pittsburghers with Oddly Specific Food Instagrams Tell Us Where to Get the Best of Their Obsession 1. Carla Cardello

Obsession: Ice Cream Insta: @becauseiloveicecream Her favorite: Glen's Custard in Springdale She says: “My absolute favorite Pittsburgh ice cream I have posted is Malt Shoppe Brownie from Glen's Custard because you taste all of the flavors including the malt without it being too overpowering or too rich.” Most Underrated: Antney’s Ice Cream in Westwood Still Dying to Try: Churn in Gibsonia

2. Joe Rachwal

Obsession: Nachos Insta: @pittsburghnachoblog His favorite: Cheesecake Factory He says: “I wouldn't expect that type of quality from a chain, but man are they good. There has been a lot of discussion about chip to topping ratio and they get it just right.” Most Underrated: Atria’s Restaurant in South Hills Still Dying to Try: Ditka's in Robinson, and Firepit Wood Fired Grill in Irwin

3. Laine Carey

Obsession: Pizza Insta: @pittsburghpizza Her favorite: Mama Lucia’s in Wexford She says: “My longtime favorite from childhood is Mama Lucia’s. Both their huge NY style slices and their Sicilian are amazing. Their sauce is just so good.” Most Underrated: Pastoli’s in Squirrel Hill Still Dying to Try: Driftwood Oven in Lawrenceville

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Obsession: Coffee Insta: @acupforjoe His favorite: 4121 Main in Lawrenceville He says: “Rose and juniper was such a unique and wonderful flavor to put in a latte. Paired with a chocolate truffle it was one of the best snacks I’ve ever had.” Most Underrated: Black Forge Coffeehouse in Allentown Still Dying to Try: Whitfield in East Liberty

5. Jacki Hawkins

Obsession: Tacos Insta: @letstacoboutitpgh Her favorite: Doce Taqueria in South Side She says: “There is always a beef, chicken, pork and then a special of the day. Just this week I was there and their special was a pork taco with candied blueberry jalapeños , farmers cheese, pico, and cilantro and lime. I loved the unique flavor.” Most Underrated: El Paisano in Beechview Still Dying to Try: La Poblanita in Coraopolis

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FOOD

Siempre Algo serving up contemporary American cuisine at Deutschtown eatery By Haley Frederick PITTSBURGH CURRENT STAFF WRITER haley@pittsburghcurrent.com Siempre Algo, a new North Side restaurant from chef and owner Brian Hammond, opened for dinner in Deutschtown on August 23. The three weeks since then have been chaos, Hammond says, but as a veteran in the restaurant industry he knew what he was in for before it even began. The name Siempre Algo, which translates to “always something,” is a call back to Hammond’s early career when he moved to California and ended up working in kitchens where most of his colleagues spoke Spanish. “Murphy’s Law dominates our existence in restaurants, so whenever something went wrong — which was always — the guys would just be like ‘ah, siempre algo,’” Hammond recalls. “In restaurants it’s always something. We kind of embrace the chaotic element of what we do and then make something great from it.” Hammond’s previous project was a farm-to-table restaurant in Cranberry Township called Echo. A quick Google search of online reviews reveals that Echo was well received for its elevated food and drink offerings in an area that was dominated by chain restaurants when it opened in 2010. But by 2014, Hammond decided to close Echo and leave the 17,000-square-foot space as well as his three-acre suburban farm and move into the city. It didn’t take long for Hammond to feel at home in the North Side. After just six months living in the neighborhood, he started looking for a new place to set up shop. He bought Schrim’s Garden Cafe on East Ohio Street and after three years of planning,

Siempre Algo. Current Photo by Jake Mysliwczyk

design, and construction, Siempre Algo is open for dinner five nights a week serving up contemporary American eats. “What contemporary American means is an expression of the best ingredients available being used through the lens of our experience,” Hammond says. “So for me that’s gonna be a lot of French and a lot of Mexican, not as fusion, but using those techniques to make dishes that make sense.” The result is a wide-ranging menu where the list of snacks outnumbers the entrees. The entree options cover all of the bases—fish, chicken, vegeta-

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ble, pork and steak. What sound like classic offerings are made new and fresh through Hammond’s unique pairings. The halibut is served with a green molé, the chicken with a brandied chicken-liver bread pudding, and the ribeye with a chimichurri sauce. Snacks include sweet and spicy sambal chicken, a white fish ceviche, heirloom tomato salad, and baba ganoush. Hammond took a special interest in the homemade pretzels on Siempre Algo’s menu. They’re an homage to his Pennsylvania roots. “I grew up loving soft pretzels in Philly and now I’m in Deutschtown

and this is a really traditional Bavarian formula,” he says. “I wanted a project that I could anchor that would uniquely be for this place.” The menu at Siempre Algo will adapt to the seasons and also to the feedback of guests as Hammond plans to keep an open mind and see what flavors his customers are responding to. “When I was younger I think I’d get very upset about certain kinds of suggestions and now I want to try to really hear it for what it’s worth. The restaurant is not about our ego, it’s about what we offer to people.” Hammond isn’t just concerned with


DAY DRINKING By Day Bracey PITTSBURGH CURRENT CRAFT BEER WRITER info@pittsburghcurrent.com Editor’s Note: Day Bracey is a standup comedian and host of the Drinking Partners Podcast on the Epicast Network. He chronicles Pittsburgh’s craft-beer scene for the Pittsburgh Current. Brian Hammond. Current Photo by Jake Mysliwczyk

what Siempre Algo offers to its guests; he’s done a lot of thinking about what he wants the restaurant to offer its employees. After 20 years in the industry and many lessons learned, Hammond is approaching his new restaurant with clarity and purpose. “I’ve worked for amazing chefs and bad cooks, I’ve worked for great people and I’ve worked for tyrants and I’ve figured out what I want to do, what’s important to me,” Hammond says. He recognizes that opening a new restaurant is more than an opportunity to create a new menu—it’s an opportunity to create a culture. “I think our business has a habit of calling itself hospitality and then treating the people that work in it really badly, “ Hammond says. Currently, Siempre Algo is only open for dinner service five nights a week. While this may seem slim to some, it was a conscious decision Hammond made about how his restaurant would run. Opening for a single service means that the same staff will work together at every single one. Hammond wants all of the servers, cooks, and bartenders to share the same experience so that they can build their culture together. “The mechanism that drives me now is to make this a place that’s hospitable for the people that work here and where we can grow and nurture a great team.”

Sept. 15, 11:45 a.m.: I’ve been invited to the Construction Junction Big Pour. It’s one of the oldest and biggest beer fests in Pittsburgh. It’s been going for 12 years now with proceeds supporting CJ’s mission “to promote conservation through the reuse of building material.” CJ is located in Point Breeze, or as some of you may call it, the Far East End. I park around the corner next to some ambiguous permit parking signs, see some out of state plates in the area, and roll the dice on whether or not I’ll get towed. They have sessions at noon and 5 p.m. I’ve been given tickets to the 12 o’clock session. Who drinks beer at noon? Sept. 15, 12 p.m.: Apparently, everyone. I forgot Pittsburgh is full of drunks. So, I’m right at home. They hand me a large sample glass and this nifty necklace that holds it so you can use your hands without setting down your glass. They’ve clearly considered the mime community in today’s planning. This place is huge! I thought it was a little mom & pop shop that bike-hippies kept in business by buying old doorknobs and coffee just so they can use the free Wi-Fi. There looks to be enough building supplies stored in here to build a small village. There are nearly 2,000 people here. They have 55 brewers and more than 20 food vendors split up into four sections. Sept. 15, 12:05 p.m.: As minorities are apt to do in high-European situations, I do a quick black scan of the crowd to assess the comfort level. Before I can finish, a young negro gentleman by the name of Rafiq approaches me and introduces himself and the beer he’s drinking, an imperial Russian stout by Hulton Liquid Works in Oakmont. I wasn’t aware Oakmont had a brewery. He mentions he attended Fresh Fest, that his wife is otherwise occupied somewhere in this building, and offers to join me on my fantastic voyage. Looks like I’ve found a new friend. Three hours. Four Chambers of Inebriation. 45 minutes each. Let’s go, bro!

FOOD

Sept. 15, 1-something p.m.: We still haven’t made it past the first chamber. I’ve been trying to keep it light with low ABV goses and lagers, but it’s not working. It may be because brewers consider “just a splash, please,” to mean a 7 ounce pour plus a little squirt in your mouth for good measure. A highlight thus far has been the brut IPA from Leaning Cask in Springdale. It’s dry with a nice citrus flavor. The brewer describes it as his take on a New England hazy, and I believe he knocked it out the park. Sept. 15, something-something p.m.: We’ve arrived at the second chamber. Abjuration is here. They’re pouring brown ale, which I’m not typically a fan of, but this one is pretty complex and a nice change of pace from the light beers I’ve been drinking heavily. They’re over in McKees Rocks, if you’re interested. And if you’re over there early enough, stop by Mary Anne’s Breakfast-N-Lunch, too. Best breakfast hoagie in Pittsburgh. The only breakfast hoagie in Pittsburgh? Something something, something something: I failed. I was supposed to be over there, but instead I’m here in the third chamber, and it’s almost over. Spoke to Meg Evans about Brewtal Festival, a heavy metal beer festival featuring collaborations with metal bands and a pretty sweet championship belt for the best beer. This year it’s at Mr. Smalls on October 20. Yes, I’ll be there. No, I won’t be coherent. James Evans of Spoonwood wants me to shotgun a pounder of Freshie Crushie, and I’m usually ’bout that life, but today I’m trying to be an adult and keep it together. I’m hanging by a thread. I stuff a couple in my pocket for later though. Before they kick me out, I manage to try a barrel aged sour from the king of sours, Jeff Bloom, the new Kaboom Candy from Grist House and a remarkable black tea blonde ale from Three Rivers Association of Serious Homebrewers, or TRASH. They are a committed bunch, not like the casual brewers you might find on Craigslist. I probably should have eaten some food while I was here. That’s when Rafiq tells me he’s been eating food at this festival the whole time. “You didn’t know it was free?” Friends. How many of us have them? PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 35


EVENTS

THE CAN’T MISS

From chorus of singers to a chorus of bloodthirsty zombies, here are the Pittsburgh Current’s list of can’t-miss events

Amanda Reed PITTSBURGH CURRENT STAFF WRITER amanda@pittsburghcurrent.com

SEPT. 26

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, an American essayist whose work has appeared in GQ, The Paris Review and the New York Times Magazine, speaks as part of the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series tonight at Heinz Memorial Chapel at the University of Pittsburgh. She has profiled comedian Dave Chappelle, rapper Missy Elliot and her essay, “A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof,” won the 2018 National Magazine Award for Best Feature Writing and was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing. Her first book, “The Explainers and the Explorers,” comes out later this year. 7:30 p.m. Free. 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. www.pghwriterseries.pitt. edu

SEPT. 28

Ever wondered what a sad version of a Madonna song sounds like? Find out tonight at the Warhol Museum with SADONNA, co-presented by the Carnegie Mellon University School of Art and School of Drama. Choreographer Miguel Gutierrez shows the small spiritual distance between the international pop star and himself, an experimental artist based out of Brooklyn, New York. Backed by the SLUTINOS, the Sad Latino Boys Backup Singers, SADONNA reveals the cry for help within Madonna’s uplifting lyrics. 8 p.m. $15 ($12 for members and students). 117 Sandusky St., North Shore. 412-2378300 or www.warhol.org

OCT. 1

Head to Row House Cinema tonight to celebrate the 50th anniversary of George Romero’s cult classic horror film, “Night of the Living Dead.” On Oct. 1, 1968, the film debuted at the Byham Theater in downtown Pittsburgh, changing horror and zombie films forever. Bonus points if you visit the Evans City Cemetery in Evans City, where the film was shot. 12:15 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. $8. 412-9043225 or www.rowhousecinema.com

OCT. 3

The ReelAbilities Film Festival begins today for five days of diverse

36 | SEPT. 25, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENT

independent cinema at SouthSide Works Cinema, sponsored by Film Pittsburgh. Now entering its sixth season, the festival screens films that promote awareness of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of individuals with disabilities. Films include “The Drummer and the Keeper,” about two young men — one with Bipolar disorder, one with Asperger’s Syndrome — and their quest for friendship, and “Mind over Matter,” a documentary about Brandon Mendenhall, an aspiring rock musician who doesn’t let Cerebral Palsy get in the way of his dreams. 7 p.m. Through Oct. 9. $8-$100. 425 Cinema Dr., Southside. 412-426-

3456 or www.reelabilities.org

OCT. 7

The Pitt Choirs Showcase returns today with performances by the Heinz Chapel Choir, the Men’s Glee Club and the Women’s Choral Ensemble at First Baptist Church, sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Department of Music. The program features music from all across the globe in styles ranging from classical Palestrina to popular artists like ABBA. 4 p.m. Free. 159 North Bellefield Ave., Oakland. 412-6244126 or www.music.pitt.edu


EVENTS Tues., Sept. 25 When We All Vote, an event featuring Tom Hanks. Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall 4141 5th Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213. www.whenweallvote. org/events/ Roger Humphries + H Factor Agnes R. Katz Plaza, Pittsburgh, PA. http://trustarts.org/ Jim Caruso’s Cast Party Greer Cabaret Theater. 655 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222. http:// trustarts.org/ Counterparts and Being as an Ocean, with Have Mercy Rex Theater. 1602 Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15203. http://rextheater.net/ MICAWBER, with Lago, AHTME, Riparian, and Plagueist Smiling Moose. 1306 E. Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA, 15203. http://rextheater.net/ Lemon Bucket Orkestra Brillobox. 4104 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15224. http://www. brilloboxpgh.com/

Wed., Sept. 26 Beartooth Stage AE. 400 N. Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA, 15212. http://promowestlive.com/concert_venues/ stage-ae-pittsburgh-pennsylvania Drake Bell Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. 103 Slade Lane, Warrendale, PA, 15086. https:// jergels.com/

Thurs. Sept. 27 Beer + Yoga: Fall Series Brew Gentleman. 512 Braddock

Avenue, Braddock, PA, 15104. https:// www.brewgentlemen.com/ Descendants of Crom Pre -Gala Howlers. 4509 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15224. http://www. howlerspittsburgh.com/ Savor Pittsburgh Peterson Event Center. 3719 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15261. http:// savorpgh.com/

Fri., Sept. 28th Cynthia Oliver :: Virago ManDem Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. 5941 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15206. https:// kelly-strayhorn.org. Through September 29th

Sat., Sept. 29 Currently@Cyclops Cafe, Post Bellvue Bash Party Cyclops Cafe, 567 Lincoln Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15202. https://www. cyclopscafepgh.com/ Miller and the Other Sinners Moondogs. 378 Freeport Rd., Blawnox, PA, 15238. http://moondogs. us/

Sun. Sept. 30 Pittsburgh PodCon Spirit Hall. 242 51st Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15201. http://www.spiritpgh.com Jess Sides Acoustic Narcisi Winery. 4578 Gibsonia Road, Gibsonia, PA, 15044. http:// www.narcisiwinery.com/ Dance Shorts, presented by Texture Contemporary Ballet New Hazlett Theater. 6 Allegheny

Square East. Pittsburgh, PA, 15212. https://newhazletttheater.org/ Glam Rock Drag Brunch Hard Rock Cafe. 230 W. Station Square Drive, Pittsburgh, PA, 15219. https://www.hardrock.com/cafes/pittsburgh/

Mon. Oct. 1 Eva Nobezada: Direct From London Greer Cabaret Theater. 655 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222. https:// trustarts.org/ Family Halloween Laser Show Carnegie Science Center. 1 Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15212 http://www.carnegiesciencecenter. org. Ongoing through the month of October

Tues. Oct. 2

Bluegrass Open Jam Starlite Lounge. 364 Freeport Rd, Blawnox, PA, 15238. http://starliteloungepgh.com. Held every Tuesday The Revivalists Stage AE. 400 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA, 15212. http://promowestlive.com/concert_venues/ stage-ae-pittsburgh-pennsylvania Maxwell Heinz Hall. 600 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222. https://culturaldistrict.org

Wed., Oct. 3 ReelAbilities Film Festival Southside Works Cinema. 425 Cinema Drive, Pittsburgh, PA, 15203. https://reelq.org/. Through October 9th Crab Walk Merchant Oyster Co. 4129 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15201. https://www.merchantpgh.com/

PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 37


EVENTS

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

THURS., OCT. 4 Activism and Engagement, an evening with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra City of Asylum at Alphabet City. 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15212. http://www.alphabetcity.org/ Dreamers, with Weathers and Morgxn Spirit Hall. 242 51st Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15201. http://www.spiritpgh.com

FRI., OCT. 5 Insane Clown Posse, with Clownvis Presley and Chronic Zombiez Rex Theater. 1602 Carson Street,

Pittsburgh, PA, 15203 http://rextheater. net/ A Screening of George A. Romero’s Season of the Witch Andy Warhol Musum. 117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15212. https://www.warhol.org/ Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats Mr. Smalls Theater, 400 Lincoln Avenue, Millvale, PA, 15209. https:// mrsmalls.com/

SAT., OCT. 6

A reading with Jonathan Axier, author of Sweep City of Asylum at Alphabet City. 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15212. http://www.alphabetcity.org/

38 | SEPT. 25, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENT

Doors Open Pittsburgh Market Square, 2 Market Square, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222 www.doorsopenpgh.org

Jennifer Knapp Club Cafe 56-58 South 12th Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15203 http://clubcafelive.com/index.php

SUN., OCT. 7

MON., OCT. 8

Bat House with Altar Boy and Good Grief Smiling Moose 1306 E. Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA, 15203 http://rextheater.net/ Italian Heritage Day Heinz History Center 1212 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222 www.heinzhistorycenter.org

Steely Dan Heinz Hall 600 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 www.pittsburghsymphony.org Luis Alberto Urrea, a Ten Evenings Author, presented by Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures Carnegie Music Hall, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213. https:// pittsburghlectures.org/


EVENTS

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NEIGHBORHOODS

Current Photos by Jake Mysliwczyk

Bellevue maintains small town charm amidst new developments Bird’s-eye Bellevue: Bellevue by drone, page 42

By Rebecca Addison PITTSBURGH CURRENT SPECIAL PROJECT EDITOR rebecca@pittsburghcurrent.com To outsiders, the small borough of Bellevue located along the Ohio River might appear like a town stuck in the past. The neighborhood boasts large old homes, small locally owned shops and the kind of walkability reminiscent of many small towns. To top it off, for decades it was a dry

40 | SEPT. 25, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENT

town, meaning the sale of alcohol had been banned within its borders since the prohibition era. But in 2015, the residents there voted to overturn the alcohol ban. The borough’s first liquor license was granted and Bellevue was thrust into the 21st century, or at least its liquor laws were. While this relatively new adjust-

ment might be seen as the catalyst for recent developments in the borough, residents there say changes in the neighborhood were set in motion years ago. For the past few decades, the demographics of the neighborhood have been shifting as those large old homes were put up for sale, purchased and transformed into apartments. And some of those stores along


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Bellevue’s quaint business district closed when big box stores in nearby suburbs began to pop up. Residents say they want to hold onto Bellevue’s old town charm, but they’re also excited about the new developments in the neighborhood like a brewery and restaurant, Revival on Lincolb, soon to open and recent community events that have brought

new visitors to their streets. A Harry Potter themed event just last month brought in hundreds to the borough. And a recent wine and art crawl showcased how walkable Bellevue remains. “Bellevue is one of the last surviving small towns,” says Joe Elbicki. CONTINUED PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 41


NEIGHBORHOODS

Bellevue by air. Current photo by Jake Mysliwczyk.

CONTINUED FROM 41 “There aren’t too many towns around like it. There’s a bakery, a hardware store. You have everything you want in Bellevue and it’s a really great walking community. You could rent an apartment in Bellevue and never have to own a car.” Elbicki is the owner of Joe’s Rusty Nail, a luncheonette that’s been feeding residents in the borough for decades. And while it might sound surprising, he’s just as excited about the new restaurant as the rest of his neighbors, even though it will increase competition. “I definitely think it’s going to be

a shot in the arm for the community,” Elbicki says. “Over the last five or six years, we’ve really been on the cutting edge of getting some great new businesses in. I’m probably more excited now than I’ve been in years past. I want more things moving in to Bellevue that can bring more people in to Bellevue. We need it to be a destination and I think we’re close to having that. I think Bellevue could be the next Lawrenceville.” Jennifer Slavicek is a lifelong Bellevue resident and she currently serves as the executive director of The Shepherd’s Door, a Christian organization that has been serving the community for 40 years. The group runs a gift and book-

42 | SEPT. 25, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENT

store in the borough’s business district. “All of our profits go right back into the community,” Slavicek says.

“Right now we’ve been focusing on youth in the community because I see a lot of need for guidance for youth


NEIGHBORHOODS

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in the area, something to do to keep them off the street and educate them.” The organization runs performing arts and meal programs to ensure children in the community are nurtured both mentally and physically. And Slavicek says the increase in people visiting the community is helping The Shepherd’s Door fulfill its mission. “The borough as a whole is definitely coming back,” Slavicek says. “The shop has grown over the last three years. We see new customers on a daily basis, people who it’s their first time in Bellevue, especially on Saturdays.” Michele Smith has lived in the borough for 40 years. She moved there after college in 1978 and has seen the neighborhood through decades of

changes, some good and some bad. In 2008, Smith decided it was time to play a greater role in the future of her community in an effort to ensure the good outweighed the bad. That year, she and a few neighbors began hosting events in an effort to get people out of their homes and bring in new visitors from outside the borough. Since then other organizations have sprouted up to do the same and Bellevue now regularly has events that bring thousands to the community. Smith says she’s happy her hometown is finally getting the recognition it deserves. “My goal has always been to try to encourage people to come into Bellevue,” says Smith, “so they can see what’s available here.”

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NEIGHBORHOODS

Neighborhood Conversations: Emily Marburger By Rebecca Addison PITTSBURGH CURRENT SPECIAL PROJECTS EDITOR rebecca@pittsburghcurrent.com

Emily Marburger, Bellevue mayor. Current photo by Jake Mysliwczyk

Emily Marburger was elected mayor of Bellevue in November 2017 and took office this past January. With just eight months under her belt, the 31-year-old first-time candidate turned first-time elected official has a front row seat to the changes Bellevue is going through. Pittsburgh Current talked with Marburger about why she decided to run for office, her eight years living in the community and what’s next for the borough. Why did you decide to run? I was motivated by the 2016 presidential election to get more involved politically. As I started looking at the local political scape that existed in Bellevue and seeing the two options I had for mayor, at the time, I decided to put my hat in the ring as someone who is a true progressive Democrat to offer my ideas and experience to the community. What made you want to live in Bellevue? You can get anywhere from Bellevue in 15 or 20 minutes. It’s so conveniently located and it’s really convenient place to live. It’s totally walkable. We have a grocery store, a pharmacy, we have restaurants and they’re all connected via sidewalk. Bellevue is slowly becoming unvieled to the Greater Pittsburgh area. But it was such a hidden gem when I moved in and it’s still very affordable. How have you seen the neighborhood change? I’ve been a member of the local YMCA since I moved here. When I first started going there I would be one of six people and was probably the youngest person there by about 30 years. If you go to the gym now

it’s packed with people in their 30s and 40s at any time of day. There’s definitely been a real shift in demographics. Whereas before it was an older population, we’re slowly seeing younger families becoming the majority, people finding an affordable place to raise their families. We’ve seen a lot of growth in the business district. I think Bellevue is creating a business district that is more appealing to millenials, what they want to do after work when they’re gathering with friends. What are your hopes for the future of the borough? One of my big pushes that I want to see happen is creating a sense of community that’s really been lost across the board in so many municipalities. I want to see block parties on a regular basis and community events in the business district on Lincoln Avenue where we can attract people to come out of their homes and experience the business district in a different way and attract new people to experience Bellevue for the first time.

44 | SEPT. 25, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENT

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NEWS OF THE WEIRD by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

Smooth Reaction

A naked man opened the door to firefighters responding to a house fire in Niceville, Florida, on Aug. 27 and said “I’m sorry” before closing the door in their faces. James Cunningham, 53, later admitted to police he’d had two liters of vodka and had smoked marijuana before trying to bake cookies on his George Foreman grill, reported WPLG Local 10. The experiment went wrong when the grill and cookies caught fire, so he covered them with a dry towel, which also caught fire. Firefighters said if he’d been in the house any longer, he could have died from smoke inhalation.

Anger Management

Djuan Lewis, 23, landed a new job at Benada Aluminum Products in Sanford, Florida, on Aug. 30, a Thursday. On Sunday morning, his boss fired him. WFTV reported that following his dismissal, Lewis waited for his boss for two hours outside the business, then chased him and his girlfriend for a mile and a half, shooting at their car and hitting the rear bumper, trunk and right rear tire. Neither the supervisor nor his girlfriend was hurt. Sanford police arrested Lewis and charged him with attempted murder.

Questionable Judgment

School resource officer and part-time police officer Maryssa Boskoski, 32, was called into a classroom at Liberty Preparatory School in Smithville, Ohio, on Aug. 30 to help rouse a sleeping student who could not be awakened by the teacher or even the principal. When Boskoski arrived, The Washington Post reported, her solution was to unholster her Taser, remove the firing cartridge and pull the trigger, causing an electric buzz that woke the student and shocked the school community. Smithville Police Chief Howard Funk placed Boskoski on unpaid leave and told WEWS news station Boskoski had been disciplined a month earlier, also for a Taser-related incident. An investigation was ongoing.

Oops New Jersey resident Gregory Lazarchick, 56, made a bad day worse on July 21 when he told greeters at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, he’d been sent by al-Qaida to “blow the place up.” According to the Orlando Sentinel, the greeters told Orange County deputies Lazarchick complained of having a bad day before issuing his threat, but deputies found no bomb-making materials in Lazarchick’s hotel room. The man’s sister reported he had suffered a head injury several years ago and sometimes said inappropriate things. The remorseful Lazarchick posted bond after his arrest for false report of a bombing.

Ewwww!

At Kirby High School in Memphis, Tennessee, things are quiet as a mouse ... or a rat. Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson told the Memphis Commercial Appeal he’s looking for a temporary home for Kirby’s 800 students after closing the school Sept. 5 due to a rat infestation. The problem started in mid-August, when district personnel uncovered a rat’s nest during a renovation project. Eighty rats were trapped at the school and poison was set out. When students returned after Labor Day, poisoned rats began dying within the school’s walls and the stench became overwhelming. Calling the situation an “unavoidable act of nature,” Hopson said he expects students to return in early November.

Irony

Lona and Joseph Johnson of Bellingham, Washington, survived the Las Vegas mass shooting last October and decided to get a dog to help with the trauma that haunted them after the incident. “We heard that dogs are good pets to help with the healing and PTSD ... and got Jax,” Joseph told the Bellingham (Washington) Herald. But on Sept. 2, neighbor Odin Maxwell, 49, shot and killed Jax, telling police the dog was chasing his chickens. An investigation showed no chickens were harmed, and Maxwell was cited for discharging a firearm. PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 45


SAVAGE LOVE

by Dan Savage mail@savagelove.net

I’m a 62-year-old woman. I was married for 33 years and left five years ago. We hadn’t gotten along for years, but he never stopped wanting or valuing me for sex—in spite of treating me like a household appliance and cheating on me regularly. Not long after the marriage ended, I met a guy online (my same age) who ticked nearly every box on my partner checklist—one of which was an ongoing interest in maintaining sexual relations. In the beginning, things were hot and crazy—but they cooled after a few months (going from once or twice a day to maybe once a month). Other than that, the relationship continued to grow and we enjoyed being together. I tried to carefully broach the subject, but he was not forthcoming. I’m not proud of it, but I checked his internet history. Big surprise: LOTS OF PORN. No animals or children, but pretty much everything else, with an accent on trans. Eventually, I admitted my sleuthing and asked if his viewing habits were an indicator of his interests or the reason he had turned away from me. After the anger subsided, he explained that he had been single most of his life and had more or less gotten used to taking care of business solo. Also that the women he had been with who floated his boat sexually had been bad (crazy/unstable) in the partner department, and the good partners (me) had been less than satisfying for him in bed. The bottom line is that we are compatible in 46 | SEPT. 25, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENT

most every other area and have built a comfortable life together. We have intercourse every four to six weeks, and maybe once in between he will pleasure me. I enjoy both, and also take care of myself once a week. The struggle for me is more ego-driven. I’m no raving beauty, but I am reasonably fit and attractive for my age, and (used to) enjoy feeling desired and valued sexually. Can I get to the place of letting go of that and enjoy the rare occasions of physical congress? Sex Advice Please “Good for her for getting out of a marriage where she was treated like a ‘household appliance’ and getting back in the dating game,” said Joan Price, author of the books Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex and The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50. “But her new relationship, while it sounds comfortable and affectionate, doesn’t sound sexually fulfilling.” This relationship doesn’t just sound unfulfilling sexually, SAP, it sounds infuriating generally. You entered into this relationship under false pretenses. You let your partner know that “an ongoing interest in maintaining sexual relations” was a priority for you, and he allowed you to believe it was a priority for him. In fairness to him, SAP, he may not have known himself to be incapable of sustaining a strong sexual connection, seeing as he’s been single for most of his life. But even if he wasn’t aware he couldn’t meet your needs then, that doesn’t change the fact that you aren’t valued/fucked the way you want to be valued/fucked now. “I think her best option is to stay friends with this guy but start dating


and having sex with others,” said Price. “She could continue to have occasional sex with this man if they both agree to a nonexclusive, friends-with-benefits arrangement. Or they could become platonic pals, if that’s better for them. But it’s imperative that she talk candidly with him.” You write that you tried to “carefully broach the subject, but he was not forthcoming,” but Price wonders whether you were forthcoming yourself. “‘Carefully broach’ usually means ‘I was vague,’” said Price. “Suppose, instead, she said, ‘I really value you, but I don’t think we’re well-matched sexually. How can we adjust our relationship so we’re not putting sexual pressure on each other and we’re both free to find other sexual outlets?’” Your partner has an outlet that works for him and pretty much meets all his needs—porn and his own hand—but you don’t have an outlet that provides you with the feeling of being desired and valued sexually. Watching porn and/or “taking care of yourself ” isn’t going to meet your needs. So the question is this: Do you have to exit this loving relationship to get your needs met, or can you stay with your current partner, a man who meets your emotional and social needs, while getting your sexual needs met elsewhere? “SAP deserves a partner who matches her sexually,” said Price. And I agree. If you’re telling yourself that you’ll have to settle for someone who claims he can’t perform for you because you’re not unstable enough to turn him on—you do realize that compliment he paid you (you’re so good!) was actually a dishonest bit of blame-shifting/responsibility-dodging, right?—then you’re selling yourself short. “I know from personal experience and from the swelling of my inbox that many of us find hot, fabulous sexual partners in our 60s, 70s, and beyond,” said Price. “It’s never too late. She shouldn’t settle for sex that’s less than satisfying, and neither should he. If that means she looks for new partners and he returns to his solo pleasure with the porn he prefers and the hand that knows him best, they might both be happier.” Follow Joan Price on Twitter @ JoanPrice. She blogs about sex and

aging at NakedAtOurAge.com. When I was younger and more stupid, I let my husband have intercourse with me or have me blow him or jack him off while I was on the phone with my sister. It was not something that I wanted to do, but I wasn’t strong enough then to resist his pressure. For the last five years, I’ve asked him to respect me and not do this. He was good about it for a while, and I thought that we were on the same page. Now he has resumed pressuring me to do this. When I am on the phone with my sister, he will come in and harass me, grope me, and attempt to remove my clothes. So I get off the phone. This makes him mad. If I say no, he emotionally withdraws, stops conversation about it, and tells me “no sex, no marriage.” We do have a sex life that does include some of his kinks. What is your opinion about using unwitting people on the other end of the phone for sexual satisfaction? Persistent Husband’s Obnoxious Needs Enrage Spouse The imperfect, doesn’t-always-apply adage “What you don’t know can’t hurt you” applies where your unwitting sister is concerned—so long as she doesn’t know you’re multitasking during your phone conversation, PHONES, no harm is done to your sister. But you know it’s happening and you don’t like it, and your husband knows you don’t like it but insists on doing it anyway. And when you shut him down—which is your absolute right—he gets angry, engages in emotional blackmail, and threatens to leave you (“no sex, no marriage”). But you are having sex with your husband—sex that includes some of his other kinks—so what he’s really saying is, “All the sex I want, however I want it, whenever I want it, regardless of how you feel about it, or I’ll divorce you.” My advice: Divorce him yourself. On the Lovecast, Dan chats with Lizz Winstead of The Daily Show: savagelovecast.com. PITTSBURGH CURRENT | SEPT. 25, 2018 | 47


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Pittsburgh Current Vol. 1 Issue 5  

Pittsburgh Current Vol. 1 Issue 5